Psych: Meet the 2014 RFT Music Award Nominees
The 2014 Riverfront Times Music Showcase will be held this year on June 7 in the Grove! Think of it as St. Louis music's own official holiday and consider this the season. Throughout May we at RFT Music will be making our cases for all 140 bands and artists nominated for an RFT Music Award this year, so that you will be able to make a fully informed decision with regards to your vote. Read on and get yourself acquainted, and we'll see you at the showcase!
See also: Vote Now For the 2014 RFT Music Awards
Most psych bands sound like the only hallucinogens at hand are a handful of Dramamine and some leftover bong water. Bug Chaser's psychedelic trip recalls the earliest and noisiest approach of the Flaming Lips and probably a hundred underground bands nobody but its members are cool enough to know. The sound of its latest album Sexual Forecast is utter anarchy in the STL. The band careens between total guitar mayhem, melodic keyboard textures, riffage for the sake of riffage and any and all satanic majesty's requests. It's a trip you and your earplugs won't regret.
A new band full of familiar faces, Kadu Flyer is a fine addition to St. Louis' psych scene. Many of its songs embrace the inherent silliness of the genre. "Light Bright Resolve" features the lyrics "We're outta outer space, man" along with an echo-laden chant of its title. But the band also boasts exquisite bent leads that sound perfect coming through fuzz and wah-wah pedals. These effects shape Flyer's skyward trajectory by adding welcome color to the driving riffs, and they should only get cooler now that Physics Punk Pedals head-honcho Gerald Good has joined the band. Maybe the repetitive builds showcased in early sets will someday return, but for now Kadu Flyer is grooving at the intersection of psychedelica and pop-rock.
Pet Rock: The Musical
There are jam bands and then there are bands that jam. Pet Rock: The Musical is most definitely the latter. That said, the trio of guitarist John Parker, bassist Justin Pitonak and drummer Donnie Olaghlin could very well appeal to the spaced-out masses -- who've proven themselves willing to lose their focus and their hearing to the likes of Mogwai -- especially if said masses simply surrender to how good a wall of sludge can feel, even when blasted through the shittiest of DIY P.A.s. Pay attention to Pet Rock: The Musical's sound and you'll always hear melodies fighting like hell to break through.
Tone Rodent has been blessing St. Louis with its dark psych magic since the dawn of this millennium. Despite plenty of lineup turnover, the group has developed a consistent identity of a moody space-rock beast with predilections for harsh electronics and occasional driving tempos. Sometimes the band's roots as an ambient project peek through, but now these drones tend to set the table for heavy blasts of scorching guitar and chilly synths. Peppered atop these loud soundscapes are ethereal effects and Adam Watkins' disaffected voice. It all adds up to a menacing cyberpunk vibe. If androids could have bad acid trips, their hallucinations would sound like Tone Rodent.
Having recently toured with Detroit psych band Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor, Troubadour Dali has proven it can take its tuneful, reverberant rock just about anywhere. At once weighty with guitars piled on top of guitars and light with melodies that drift through the ether, the band connects with fans of both hard rockers like the Black Angels and brainier bands like the War on Drugs. The guitars and electronic touches are always gorgeous, but the almost brotherly vocal harmonies of Casey Bazzell and Ben Hinn set this band apart.